ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin denies trashing NewJeans, holding takeover talks

Min Hee-jin, CEO of girl group NewJeans' agency ADOR, left, and girl group NewJeans [YONHAP, ADOR]

NewJeans' producer Min Hee-jin has denied badmouthing the girl group or meeting with executives from Naver and Dunamu about selling her label, ADOR, in a long letter to the press.

The release came on Sunday afternoon, almost a month after her emotional two-hour press conference on April 25 where she first spoke out about her side of the story in her battle as the CEO of NewJeans' agency against its parent company, HYBE.

Amid the ongoing bloodshed, a journalist-turned-YouTuber named Lee Jin-ho on Friday revealed a series of KakaoTalk chats between Min and the vice president of ADOR, which he claimed were evidence of her insulting the NewJeans members.

Lee contended that Min described the members as "getting fat like a pig," "miserable elementary schoolers," "thoughtless toddlers" and more. The messages were "edited" for the sake of the report but "the words are exactly the same as the ones that Min Hee-jin used," according to the YouTuber.

"The complicated relationship between people cannot be explained in an online chat that has been randomly edited here and there," Min said in Sunday's letter.

Captured scenes from girl group NewJeans' new track ″Bubble Gum″ [ADOR]

"I have no reason to explain it, nor is it worth explaining. It's not something that people who don't know me, how I make jokes or who I am as a person will be able to judge. And should anyone fall under HYBE's cheap editing scheme, then I am certain that they will be left in a situation exactly like the one I am in right now."

"NewJeans and I have been through so much that we cannot even begin to explain it," she continued. "We have been tortured by things that you would not know, but having been through it all, we became closer, stronger. It is the idol business that has made us like this, even though I still do not comprehend it even after 20 years of working in it."

Min also denied approaching executives at Naver and Dunamu with the intent to persuade them to buy ADOR shares held by HYBE. The K-pop conglomerate asserted that such a meeting took place during a court hearing held at the request of Min to nullify HYBE's rights as the owner of 80 percent of her label on Friday.

“ADOR, with the intention of seizing management control, approached key executives at D company, a major shareholder of HYBE, and N company, a major partner, with a detailed plan,” HYBE said in court. HYBE also claimed to have secured evidence that Min asked other ADOR executives to make a list of potential investors.

Min Hee-jin, producer of girl group NewJeans and the CEO of its agency ADOR, during a press conference held in southern Seoul on April 25 [YONHAP]

Min, for her part, said the meeting was a "private dinner" with close acquaintances that was not arranged by herself but by an acquaintance who did not give her prior notice regarding the attendees.

"They told me their old friends will be there at the dinner and not to feel uncomfortable," Min said. "I did not know who they were at first until they introduced themselves to me as being from Dunamu. They had actually requested to meet me before through [HYBE chairman] Bang Si-hyuk because they had a keen interest in NewJeans."

"And apparently, everyone at the table was friends with the person from Naver, which is why they came after getting in touch," she continued. "It was a meeting that was not planned on my part. I can say confidently that it ended as a private session completely irrelevant to an investment deal of any sort and that everyone there can vouch for me."

The NewJeans producer closed the letter by asking HYBE and reporters to refrain from spreading further ungrounded rumors, especially those that hurt the quintet.

Bang Si-hyuk, chairman of HYBE at left, and Min Hee-jin [HYBE, ADOR]

"If you think of NewJeans in the smallest way, then the only thing you can do is to make sure that the members are not mentioned in this nonsensical situation," she said.

"HYBE has already put NewJeans in a difficult position. It is frankly disgusting and horrifying to see how they've led everything to this point. Humans are not dolls. We cannot be made into dolls with a label. All our lives are precious and it is not something that can be made into something else after a witch-hunt. Even if HYBE wants to make me the witch, they are not the ones that know me."

Also on Friday, all five members of NewJeans — Danielle, Minji, Hanni, Haerin and Hyein — filed a letter of plea to the court as their first legal action since the conflict between ADOR and HYBE began last month.

The content of the petition was not revealed to the public, but market watchers wager that the letter will be favorable toward Min due to the close relationship the two parties have been displaying even before the inter-label brawl. Min referred to the members as her "babies" or "children" during the April press conference and said that certain members offered to speak out on her behalf regarding the conflict.

Captured scenes from girl group NewJeans' new track ″Bubble Gum″ [ADOR]

There were also reports earlier this month that the members' parents had been siding with Min and demanding that HYBE treat the group better. The parents claimed that HYBE chairman Bang Si-hyuk "repeatedly ignored NewJeans members" in an official email to the agency in April.

The members' parents also hired lawyer Kang Jin-suk as their attorney on Tuesday. Kang specializes in legal conflicts in the entertainment sector.

On May 7, Min filed for an injunction to stop HYBE from exercising its rights as the majority owner of her label during the shareholders' meeting scheduled for May 31. Min and other executives at ADOR own the remaining 20 percent.

Should the court take Min's side, HYBE will not be able to exercise its rights and remove the ADOR CEO. If the injunction is dismissed, however, Min will likely be fired.

HYBE also reported Min to the police for breach of trust on April 25 after gathering "specific evidence that the ADOR CEO has led a move to seize management of the company."

NewJeans is set to present on a special stage at the Gyeongbok Palace's Geunjeongjeon on Tuesday. The girl group will also release a new single, "How Sweet," on May 24.